London's Union Theatre to Revive Sondheim's Company
By Mark Shenton
April 20, 2009
Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's 1970 Broadway musical Company will be revived at Southwark's tiny Union Theatre, beginning performances May 20 (prior to an official opening May 21), for a run to June 13 only.
In 2008 the Union Theatre produced a highly acclaimed staging of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd; other musical successes in the last few years include productions of Cabaret, Annie Get Your Gun and The Pajama Game, as well as all-male productions of HMS Pinafore and The Mikado.
Company will be directed and staged by Michael Strassen, with musical direction and orchestrations by Michael England. Strassen is also a well-known West End actor, who appeared in the original London cast of Miss Saigon, as well as Les Miserables (in which he played Marius, and sang the same role for the VE Day Anniversary in Hyde Park that was attended by the Royal Family and an audience of 250,000, and televised worldwide by the BBC) and Jesus Christ Superstar (playing Simon Zealotes). He has recorded two solo albums, and also duets with Ruthie Henshall on her Gershwin CD, "Love is Here to Stay." He directed Henshall's one-woman show at the Royal Festival Hall and subsequent U.K. tour. He directed From West End to Broadway, featuring six leading West End artists in concert, and Philip Ridley's play The Pitchfork Disney for the Yvonne Arnaud Mill Studio. Most recently he staged and directed Mark Carroll's The Attic, a new musical about old and new toys and their values clashing, that was performed at The theatre Royal, Haymarket with a West End cast.
England has been the musical director for such West End shows as Spamalot, The Producers, The Phantom of the Opera, Jerry Springer – The Opera and Les Misérables. On the concert platform, his conducting credits include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, Nederlands Balletorkest and the Slovenia Radio Symphony Orchestra, which was also televised. He has been musical director for Tony Award winner Lilianne Montevecchi, for John Barrowman and Ruthie Henshall, for whom he also arranged and conducted tracks on her album "Pilgrim." As a composer his output has included works for film, television and the concert platform, and in December 2008 he was commissioned to write a short piece for members of the Royal Ballet, which premiered at the Royal Opera House in the Clore Studio, as part of their "Draft works" series.
Casting is still to be announced.
To book tickets, contact the box office at 020 7261 9876 or visit www.uniontheatre.biz.